Recipe ReDux: A Trend in Every Pot – BBQ tempeh slowcooker chili

Slow-aged meat, raw winter vegetables, barrel-aged hot sauce and artisanal soft serve – the recipe for the weirdest sundae ever? Thankfully, no. These are some of the food trends the New York Times predicted will change up our plates in 2013 (but ideally not all combined together).

For January’s Recipe ReDux, the group was asked to jump on a new-year food trend with an original dish prepared in a single pot, slowcooker, etc. So I skimmed the (meat heavy, foodie-focused) list and found one a nutrition nerd could get behind: fermented foods.

We’ve tackled these in a previous ReDux, where I made pickled-jalapeno-topped sweet potatoes with egg. The trend seems to be gaining steam, fueled by the gut-health benefits of consuming “friendly” microbes.

This time, I’m promoting some probiotics in the new year with tempeh, or fermented soy bean. According to Wikipedia, this firm-textured, whole-bean food originates from Indonesia. The fermentation process binds the beans together and gives it an earthy, nutty flavor that is much heartier than that better-known soybean product, tofu. To play off tempeh’s “meatier” texture, I combined it with butternut squash and some BBQ flavor to make a quick and simple slowcooker chili.

The sweetness of molasses, brown sugar and bell peppers rounds out the tang of the fire-roasted tomatoes and tempeh, while the squash lends a nice hearty chunkiness. Sweeten things up for your GI flora with this easy-to-assemble recipe:

BBQ tempeh and butternut squash chili

4 servings, approx. 315 calories each

1 package tempeh, cubed

1 red onion, chopped

2 red, orange or yellow bell peppers, seeded and chopped

1 1/12 cups butternut squash (about1 lb), peeled, seeded and diced

2 14.5-ounce cans fire-roasted tomatoes

3 Tbs brown sugar

2 Tbs molasses

3-4 cloves garlic, crushed

1 ½ tsp paprika

½ tsp chili powder

2 ½ Tbs apple cider vinegar

1 Tbs Worcestershire sauce

3 Tbs ketchup

1 cup water

Combine everything in a slowcooker and cook on high for 4 hours, or low for 6-8 hours. Add small increments of water as necessary to achieve your desired consistency.

Ready to take on some new trends in the new year? Check out the links to more recipes from my fellow ReDuxers:


  1. serena says:

    Wow! How’d you know cooking tempeh was one of my new years resolutions!? This looks divine with the swert potatoes…snd eady in the slow cooker!

  2. Kat, what a great idea for chilli. I have not tried tempeh before, but this recipe is enticing!

  3. Min says:

    I’ve actually never had tempeh before but this recipe sounds great! I love slow cooker recipes and am always on the lookout for new ones. Thanks for sharing!

    • eatingtheweek says:

      Thanks! I’m usually too impatient for a low-heat slowcooker recipe, so I was glad to see this one works on high in 4 hours.

  4. Can you come to my home and help me embrace tempeh? I want tempeh and I to be friends… right now, we’re strangers :)

    • eatingtheweek says:

      Probiotic road trip! Tempeh does take some getting used to b/c (I think) it has a sharp/tangy/acrid flavor that isn’t for everyone. But this chili method really smooths it out, I found.

  5. Fabulous trend to try and one I need to get on as well, since I still haven’t cooked with tempeh yet. Love your sweet/spicy accompaniments~definitely want to try this!

  6. Yum! You know what- we eat tempeh all the time and I have never put it into a soup! I need to try this ASAP- might be making it for superbowl!

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